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Friday, October 11 • 8:55am - 9:20am
Van Herk & Childs: Stops making sense: Cross-linguistic conflict sites and the socio/linguistic constraint interface

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Stops making sense: Cross-linguistic conflict sites and the socio/linguistic constraint interface

Although linguistic and social constraints usually operate independently, interesting socio/linguistic interaction effects are possible, e.g., salience/frequency and social meaning (Van Herk & Childs 2015), phonetic (un)naturalness and social class (Kroch 1978).

We investigate such interactions by exploiting a cross-linguistic quirk: both Arabic and English feature socially-conditioned variation in interdentals (that thing vs. dat ting, mathalan vs. matalan ‘for example’), but in opposite directions: English stigmatizes the stop variant (Dubois & Horvath 2000), Arabic the fricative (Abdel-Jawad 1986, Al-Wer 1999). Thus, linguistic constraints affecting social patterning might produce different cross-linguistic results.

Analyses of similar urbanizing communities in Jordan (N=1756) and Newfoundland (N=1524) demonstrate similar social and purely linguistic constraints, but precisely opposite effects for voicing and stress. Stressed syllables and voiceless contexts favour fricatives in NLE, but stops or a new sibilant form in JA.  We argue that these factors increase the salience of tokens, and thus their potential socio-symbolic value.

Speakers
GV

Gerard Van Herk

Memorial University of Newfoundland
BC

Becky Childs

Coastal Carolina University


Friday October 11, 2019 8:55am - 9:20am
EMU Crater Lake S
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Volya Kapatsinski


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